Snowboarders from around the world are coming together through Snowboarders of Solidarity (SOS) to help young Afghan refugee snowboarders who escaped death threats & immediate danger in their home country after the recent takeover by the Taliban. They are educated young athletes (~18 to 25 years old), both women and men, advocates of women’s and human rights through sports and education. Today they ask for our help.
The dozen members of the Afghan Snowboard Team are in the process of moving to western countries. Luckily, a few have been accepted in Canada, USA, Germany and Sweden, but some are still waiting in third-party countries for their Visas to go through. They had to leave everything behind: family, friends, studies, funds. As snowboarders, we feel it is our duty to give a hand and facilitate their social integration in their new countries. Thanks to our shared passion for the sport, we shall succeed in giving them hope in the form of new friends and help them pursue their education and dream of snowboarding. Let’s get together and do good with SOS!
Victor Daviet : Last year I had the opportunity to travel to Pakistan for a snowboard trip where I had the pleasure to meet members of the Afghan snowboard team. We spent a week together sharing fun times on and off the mountain, we all became good friends. So much so that we were planning a snowboard trip in Afghanistan for my snowboard video series with them as guests for winter 2022.
Unfortunately, the recent and dramatic changes in Afghanistan have now put their lives in serious danger. For being involved in snowboard practice as a way to transform the Afghan society, they received death threat letters. Having no one else to turn to, they reached out to me for help. This association, SOS, is trying to answer their call. Learn more about them and ways to help below.
Who they are
They are educated, pioneers of human rights thanks to sports, extraordinary activists for women’s rights, human rights, and access to sport and education for all. Their lives, their dreams of a new and modern life in Afghanistan were shattered this past August. To name just a few, Hanifa, Zahra, Romal, Malalai & Hasina are representative of these young snowboarder refugees. Here are their stories:
Hasina: I first discovered snowboarding when I was 21. I had to leave Afghanistan because I was an athlete and social activist when the Taliban came and covered all my country. They said Women can’t participate in sports or education. I decided to escape from my country because of my dreams, my goals and my future. Still my family, my loved ones are in Afghanistan, my heart explodes for them but now in this new country I feel more alive and free, now that I have my own rights and respect.
Romal: I believe I am the first snowboarder of Afghanistan. Since 2016 we grew a community of snowboarders. Our dream is to participate in international competitions to fight for Afghanistan but on August 2021 our all dreams died with the Taliban regime. I worked as a journalist and activist at a local TV, and my goal was also to develop snowboarding for women. I was in danger and had to leave my homeland. Now I'm safe but I lost my family, my home, and my sports. A new chapter starts for my life and my biggest dream is to participate in the Olympic games, as Afghanistan has never participated in its history.
Z: I started snowboarding in 2019. I left Afghanistan because it is no place for girls to develop the way they like. Now I am in Utah USA. I feel grateful that I am with a community willing to help. I feel thankful for the people who don't avoid giving a hand to help us. Hopefully we are going to learn lots of great lessons about snowboarding.
Malalai: Hello to all, I am 21 years old. and I am from Afghanistan where girls and women have no right to study, work and do sport. Even with so many objections from my uncles, my father fought for me and my sisters to study. I studied economics and beside snowboarding, I worked with “Skatiestan” and also joined snowboarding because I liked it. As others did I also escaped from the Taliban regime and I am now in Sweden.
Hanifa: I learned the basics of snowboarding in 2019. Unfortunately, I was not able to continue this sport in Afghanistan due to the crisis and threats that I had. That’s why I had to leave my country, my family, my beloved, everything I had. What I feel now is so strange and difficult to say because I feel both happy and sad (because of my family). But I know everything is possible here and I can achieve my goal which I was dreaming about. I hope my family deals with the crisis and bad situation and I am sending much love to them.
What the money is for
Our ability to support these individuals depends on the amounts we raise, but we intend to use the funds for the following (prioritizing the most urgent needs first):
- Providing them with winter and snowboard equipment (wear, boards, boots, helmets, etc)
- Organization of snowboard camps, training, and day trips
- Help with Visa applications
- Emergency needs for everyday life until their situation stabilize
- English/local language lessons, aid for pursuing their studies
Who we are
The non-profit organization Snowboarders Of Solidarity (SOS) was created in 2021 by professional snowboarders to help snowboarders suffering from various forms of oppression in many corners of the planet. The primary focus is on refugee-snowboarders who fled politically unstable countries. SOS gives them a hand to rebuild their lives wherever they landed using snowboarding as a means for social integration.
Snowboarders of Solidarity is a France-based non-profit organization registered by the French government under the law of 1901 with number W741 010 053. All members are volunteers.
President : Victor Daviet
Founders : Victor Daviet, Laurent Pordié, Jérôme Tanon
Ambassadors : Marion Haerty, Pierre Vaultier, Marie-France Roy, Xavier De Le Rue, Mathieu Crépel, David Malacrida.
More information, join our community, & keep up to date on our website
How to help
Besides donations, spreading the word amongst the snowboard community is even more important. Share this link, send it to your local ski resort & winter brands. You can also become a member of SOS on our website and get involved in local actions. You are a snowboard brand/ski resort and want to help with gear/lift tickets? Contact us!
Thank you boarders!